Archive for the 'file server' Category

Building a 32 TB Server: a thought experiment.

August 31, 2008

Daniel Gimpelevich and Holden Aust built a 16 TB server for Christian Einfeld and his Digital Tipping Point Project.  See Linux Journal, Issue 173, September 2008.  I am impressed that these gentlemen built a server with four times the capacity of anything that I have ever attempted.  It’s funny because in Einfeld’s article he mentions it almost in passing.  My jaw was on the floor.  Also I think it’s cool that he’s a lawyer who is also very much into technology.  Moreover, his philanthropic efforts in San Francisco are admirable.

The server they built motivates me to try to build a 32 TB server.  There are three problems that I have not worked out.  One: fitting 16 drives in one box.  I would wait to build the server when 2 TB drives are obtainable.  I am assuming that I can find a case somewhere that will hold 16 drives.  If I can’t, I would have to have some sort of an external enclosure and run SATA cables to it.  Two: I don’t know if FreeNAS can handle 32 TB of storage.  If not, I’d have to use some other platform, but I suspect it could do it or could be made to do it.  Three: I don’t know if you can put three or four SATA cards on one motherboard.  Obviously these gentlemen figure that part out.  It must be possible, I just don’t know how to do it.  It may be as easy as plugging them in.

If I were to succeed, a RAID 5 FreeNAS server would provide 20.8 TB of usable space out of the 32 TB available.  Since you have to do backups anyway, it almost makes sense to have two raid zero 32 TB servers as you would get 27.73 TB of usable space each and faster performance.

At this point, this is just a thought experiment.  In terms of money, when the drives become available, we’re not talking about that much compared to other types of extreme computing.  For example some people will spend in excess of 14 or $15,000 buying an overclocked “ultimate” machine.  A 32 TB server would probably only cost $2-$3000 to build.

I have to admit it is exciting.  I don’t know what I would use it for.  I still have plenty of space on my 4 TB server that only has 2.6 TB of usable space.  Even with an HD TiVo and pulling HD content off of it and putting it on the server, I don’t think I would need anything close to 32 TB of space.  But it would be fun to build.

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Playing with the TiVoHD and misc.

August 23, 2008

I’ve been playing with my TiVoHD. It has had a big impact on my life as it played a role in reacquainting me with old friends.

I used the TiVo desktop to move an HD recording of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to my server. I was able to watch it on my 30 inch monitor in my basement. Nice. Although my flagship machine manged this with no problem, another machine I have choked. This is very annoying. It is a 1.6 GHz dual core and it chokes on everything. It’s kind of useless. I’m not sure if it is the computer or if it is the fact that it’s running Vista. The flagship machine runs XP.

Anyhow, I like the idea of being able to watch HD shows down there. I’m not sure that it needs to be on my best computer though. I’m thinking that it might be time to build a new computer. As a stopgap, I’m using the quadcore that’s plugged into my HDTV to move the files to the server.

I am also playing with a wireless microphone and I bought a new webcam too. I’ll probably have more to say about that stuff in the future.

I feel like I needed to get some words going here, it’s been more than a little sparse lately.

Snowed In.

March 8, 2008

It would be easy for me to waste the rest of the evening. We are snowed in. I have not seen this much snow since 1978. Our street is impassable. Our driveway was plowed three times earlier but is now also impassable.

For someone like me who enjoys being indoors, this is not entirely bad. I have spent the day reading or watching TV and of course playing with my computers.

The computer experience has not been entirely positive. One of my file servers went down. I think I’m going to keep it down. It was the first one I built and I don’t really need it any more. I am fairly certain that I identified what was causing problems. It doesn’t seem to be playing nicely with the external drive I attached to it. Additionally, my Linux box is acting up. It won’t open a terminal. Instead, it crashes back to the login screen. Useless!

I have been playing with the Python programming language. Every now and then I get the urge to learn something completely new. This is definitely in that category. The book I have is on version 2.4. It relies on software accessories that do not seem to be compatible with the current version of Python which is 2.5.2. It figures. So I am bumbling through the book trying to figure this out as best I can.

In other computer-related activities, I spent some time looking at laptops online today. I know that I am very much used to having the flexibility of a laptop all the time. Because of the snow, I ended up leaving work early and not going back on Friday. This caused me to leave my laptop at work. It is my work laptop anyway but because I currently do not have a personal laptop it’s the only thing I have for portable computing. I want a new personal laptop. I looked at the Macbook Air and a host of other laptops including Dells and Fujitsus. I definitely think I want something light but useful. The Air is beautiful. I wonder how useful it is, though.

Otherwise, I am enjoying a weekend where I do not have a lot of structured and planned activities. It is rare for me. Strangely, I still have no desire to do any gaming. This is really odd.

Building a FreeNAS file server with 4 1 TB drives.

January 21, 2008

 I ordered parts for a new server today.  With my success in building a FreeNAS based box, I’m going to try to build another one using 4 1 TB drives in RAID 5.  If it works, I’ll finally be able to put all my data in one place.  Oh and I also ordered a metric butt-ton of Cat 6 cable to try to help increase the speed of my supposedly gigabit network.  Goodtimes are ahead!  I decided to wait on building a new quadcore flagship machine, perhaps as late as until May.

I’m really scavenging my KVM lately.  One of the 4 boxes went to build my 1st server, now my Ubuntu machine is being sacrificed to build the second server.  Yet another box is going to be moved behind the TV in the basement to act as a videoserver for that.  I’ll only have one box left!

Maybe in May, instead of just building one flagship machine, I’ll build 4 and fill up my KVM with bad-ass processing power!  Muhahahaha!  Skynet will be born in my basement…

Thaed’s Home Network Upgrade Adventure.

December 30, 2007

 

Having a RAID 5 file server on a gigabit network for all the computers in my house has been a dream of mine for a long time. In this video, I show you what I’m switching too and some of the issues that I ran into as I completed the upgrade.

The video is sadly dark and practically unwatchable. This does not prevent me from putting it on YouTube. The fact of the matter is that if you want to shoot good video (you know, with lighting) then you have to plan and prepare for that. It means work. It also helps to write what you’re going to say instead of pointing a camera and just talking. I did not put any work into this and, well, it shows. Nonetheless, I suspect that computer geeks like me might enjoy it for what it is.

Finally, I learned something from this that’s not in the video. Plugging in gigabit switches and routers doesn’t give you gigabit transfer speeds out of the box. Windows, Linux and FreeNAS require substantial tweaking before you notice any improvements. This tweaking is not trivial and I’m still working on it.